ROXBURY, NJ – This is the year Sam Maddali finally agreed to be named president of the Roxbury Rotary Club.
He’d resisted two decades of prodding by the Rotarians. He was an active club member – giving generously and participating in many Rotary functions and fundraisers. But Maddali steadfastly resisted being crowned the Big Kahuna of the Roxbury Rotary Club.
The fact that he said “OK” in June has little to do with fellow his Rotarians' repeated requests. Maddali, a successful entrepreneur running several big businesses as well as Valley Pharmacy in Succasunna, said he agreed to be president only because doing so will allow more international involvement with Rotary.
“To participate more in Rotary International there’s a minimum requirement you be a local Rotary club president,” Maddali explained. “I need to fulfill this one year so I can be participating in global activities.” After that, he'll gladly hand to somebody else the gavel he wields at weekly club meetings
Maddali, 50, joined the Roxbury Rotary Club in 1998, eight years after arriving in the United States from India. Although he had a pharmacy degree, Maddali “came with basically nothing,” he said.
He worked as a pharmacist in New York City for about seven years. He and his wife had a daughter in 1994. A second arrived in 1997, bringing an urge to leave the city.
“We thought it was time for us to move to the suburbs for the kids’ education, more safety and better family living,” Maddali said. “We were looking to move to a place where we could by a drug store and operate it.”
The Maddalis found what they were looking for in Succasunna: Valley Pharmacy, an establishment on Route 10 that Maddali claims is the longest-operating business in Roxbury. They bought the old drug store and made the township their home. “It was small and cute here,” he said. “Roxbury was a lot different 20 years ago.”
The pharmacy hasn’t changed much over the decades, but Maddali isn’t one to stand still. He bought additional pharmacies and – in an effort to help other independent pharmacy owners compete against large corporations like CVS– he formed in 2009 the Pharmacy Plus Network.
The network grew quickly and in 2014 it became United Pharmacy Network. “UPN is poised to help even more independent pharmacies thrive against the competition of national brands,” says Maddali, UPN’s CEO, on his LinkedIn profile.
Maddali also owns Turning Stone Marketing, a company that develops and promotes “cutting edge” new products, and I Energy Plus LLC, which operates 12 gas stations in Florida.
One of his main interests is helping Gift of Life International, an organization that saves the lives of overseas children with heart disease by bringing them to the United States for treatment. "That's my favorite charity," Maddali said. "I take care of all the medications, from our pharmacy in Roxbury, for all children in the district. We donate it for free from the pharmacy."
Maddali's work with Gift of Life amazes fellow Roxbury Rotarian Steve Alford. “Every year, Sam helps run the district-wide Super Bowl raffle that raises money to allow another child to have a heart transplant,” said Alford. “Without the transplant, the child would die.”
Alford said Maddali’s efforts helped save the lives of at least three children. “His passion is Gift of Life,” he said. “He probably, single handedly raised the most money for it out of any Rotarian in our district.”
Maddali said he is compelled to help Gift of Life, as well as many other Rotary-related efforts, as a way of showing gratitude for his success.
“I came here with basically nothing and this country has given me so much,” he said. “I always believe in paying back. This community has helped me grow.”